Operation Blarneystone (i)

This was a British special forces raid on the Iles St Marcouf off the Normandy coast of German-occupied France (August 1942).

The islands became the first French territory to be liberated at the start of ‘Overlord’ by Allied seaborne forces: at 04.30 on 6 June 1944 four men landed from two canoes to establishment that the islands were not held by the Germans, and then 132 men of the 4th and 24th Squadrons of Colonel Joseph M. Tully’s US 4th Cavalry Group landed on the unoccupied Ile du Large and Ile de Terre to secure the northern-western approaches to Utah Beach, in the process suffering 19 men killed or wounded from the detonation of mines which the Germans had laid.